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Signing Up for Credit Card Fraud Alerts Can Pay Off

You know that email from your credit card company, inviting you to sign up for their credit card fraud alerts?

Well, in most cases this isn't spam, or a scam. And if you haven't already signed up, you should definitely think about it.

A credit card fraud alert can save you major headaches down the road by letting you know of suspicious transactions almost immediately after they occur, anywhere around the world. This prevents that unpleasant surprise when you open your monthly credit card statement and see a bunch of transactions you did not make.

Here are some things to know about credit card fraud alerts:

  • What are they? Your credit card company monitors all of your transactions. They know where you typically purchase goods and in what amounts. So if they start getting strange transactions (like a $300 charge at a gas station in Argentina, when you live in Omaha), the company may alert you and verify whether you made the purchase.

  • How do I sign up? Every credit card company has a different process for signing up. Typically, if you log in to your account online, you can find a link there. Or you can always call your bank or credit card company and have them sign you up.

  • What happens if fraud is detected? If the credit card company notices fraudulent activity quickly enough, it will typically suspend your account, remove the fraudulent charges, and issue you a new card and account number. So while it may be a hassle to change all your automatic payment setups, you are saved the hassle of arguing the fraudulent charges on your next bill.

  • What future steps should I take? If your credit card information was stolen, you may want to check to see if your other accounts have been compromised too. In general, if you place a fraud alert on your credit report, you will be entitled to a free look at your report, reports Fox News. You will also want to closely monitor your accounts in the next month or two to ensure that everything is secure.

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